Archive for December, 2015

Scott Burton – A Sculptor who challenged Elitism; his work fused art & life

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015
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    Burton died of complications due to AIDS on December 29, 1989, at Cabrini Medical Center in New York City.
    See Aids Memorial on FB here.

    Roberta Smith (obit)

    Mr. Burton, a small, wiry man known for his erudition, verbal precision and explosive laugh, worked as a critic and an editor for Art News and Art in America before becoming a full-time artist.

    He was inspired by tensile chairs and tables of Rietveld, the Dutch De Stijl designer who, like Piet Mondrian, specialized in simple geometries and primary colors. Further inspiration came from the round stone table and stools that Constantin Brancusi created as a memorial for the fallen of World War I in Tirgu Jiu, Rumania. But he also took ideas from Art Deco designs, the common American lawn chair, as well as rustic or Adirondack furniture made from bark-covered tree trunks and branches.

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    Scott Burton

    Scott Burton 1aburtonScott

    His wide-ranging body of writing, which often champions positions thought to be antagonistic and advocates for underdogs, is united by a strong and consistent underlying philosophy—his belief that art should be accessible, personal, and affective, that it should challenge the elitism, exclusivity, and hierarchies that plague the art world in favor of producing subjective and eclectic emotional responses and direct connections with viewers. He sought to dissolve the boundaries between art and life, placing emphasis on temporal and performative works because they are subject to the same mortal span as the viewer and deny the impossible permanence of the object.


  • Mahogany scottburton Table by Scott Burton

    Cherry, Mahogany and Scott Burton


    Chorus of Chairs..

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    Hannah Weiner, Scott Burton, Anne Waldman, Vito Acconi, Bernadette Mayer, Eduardo Costa and John Perreault, NYC, 1969


  • The Passing of an Observant, Exploratory & Deeply Personal Artist Ellsworth Kelly

    Sunday, December 27th, 2015
  • Ellsworth Kelly died at 92.

    Mr. Kelly was a true original, forging his art equally from the observational exactitude he gained as a youthful bird-watching enthusiast; from skills he developed as a designer of camouflage patterns while in the Army; and from exercises in automatic drawing he picked up from European surrealism. Although his knowledge of, and love for, art history was profound, he was little affected by the contemporary art of his time and country. He was living in France during the heyday of Abstract Expressionism in New York and only distantly aware of art in the United States. When he returned to America in 1954, he settled on what was then an out-of-the-way section of Manhattan for art, the Financial District, and had little interaction with many of his contemporaries. The result was a deeply personal and exploratory art, one that subscribed to no ready orthodoxies, and that opened up wide the possibilities of abstraction for his own generation and those to come.

  • Nature Means Everything. – Ellsworth Kelly. (preivous post- see more here.)


    Via Gemini

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    Ellsworth Kelly’s chair. (via Pascal Blanchard)

  • Ellsworth Kelly’s seamless monochromatic abstractions are derived from real-life observations and replicate the shapes, shadows and other visual sensations experienced in the surrounding world. The line, form and color of the works elicit a physical and instinctive impact.

    “Making art has first of all to do with honesty. My first lesson was to see objectively, to erase all ‘meaning’ of the thing seen. Then only, could the real meaning of it be understood and felt”.



    R.I.P Haskell Wexler (February 6, 1922 – December 27, 2015)

    Sunday, December 27th, 2015
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    Haskell Wexler

    February 6, 1922 – December 27, 2015

    Cinematographer with unshakeable radical convictions who won Oscars for his work on Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ? and Bound for Glory (via Guardian)

    Obit Hollywood Reporter

    Wexler’s other Oscar nominations came for Milos Forman’s best-picture winner One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), John Sayles’ coal-mining drama Matewan (1987) and Ron Shelton’s Huey Long biopic Blaze (1989). For the latter, he was given the American Society of Cinematographers’ top honor that year, and the organization honored him with its Lifetime Achieve Award in 1993.

    Wexler also worked as director of photography on Gore Vidal’s political gem The Best Man (1964); Norman Jewison’s best picture winner In the Heat of the Night (1967).

  • Wexler’s top ten pick/ (interesting list)..

  • Richard Artschwager, Protean and Enigmatic – Part II

    Saturday, December 26th, 2015
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    Photo by Ben Blackwell

    Richard Artschwager – Protean and Engimatic (previous post)

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    Political Portraits

  • Ed Ruscha and John Baldessari discussing Richard Artschwager.

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    Chair/Chair, 1987/90
    Oak, burl wood and cowhide
    (this one is actually for sitting + sold for $55k at Phillips de Pury)

  • (Two pianos via)

    Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa wrote only one novel – The Leopard – made famous by Luchino Visconti’s film

    Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015
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    See Pierre Clementi behind Burt Lancaster.

    Pierre was hitch-hiking and Alain Delon, on his way to “The Leopard” have him a ride. Visconti took one look at Pierre and cast him on the spot.-
    David Ehrenstein

    Visconti’s The Leopard won the best films at Cannes. Burt Lancaster played the Sicilian Patriarch.

    Olivier Assayas’ top ten list.

    One of the greatest films ever made by a director who, almost forty years after his death, is still an intimidating and disturbing figure in the history of cinema. Visconti’s films stand outside the borders of the medium, by their ambition, by their scope, uniting past and present, individuals and history, both deeply human and transcendent. The Leopard, his most translucent, towering achievement, embodies everything the best filmmaking can be, grand, profound, entertaining, physical and metaphysical, sharp as a blade and melodramatic. It stays with you, forever.

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    Dec 23 birthday Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

    The saddest thing about the whole rather sad story of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa is the publication of his one, world-famous novel, The Leopard, because it could be said that it was the only extraordinary thing to have happened in his life, although it happened, in fact, in death, sixteen months after he had departed this world. This is why he is one of the few writers who never felt he was a writer or lived as if he were one, even less so than others who also failed to publish anything during their lifetime, for the simple reason that he did not even attempt to do so until almost the end of his days. Not only did he make no attempt to get published, he did not even attempt to write anything.

    He was more of a reader, insatiable and obsessive. The few people who knew him well were astonished at his encyclopaedic knowledge of literature and history, on both of which subjects he possessed a vast library.(read more here)

    Written Lives – Javier Marias

  • Birthday of Edgar Varese Dec 22. innovative composer

    Married Blues (cool video, Kenneth loved Jazz)
    Kenneth Rexroth born on Dec 22 (youtube)

    Kenneth Rexroth: another spring

    Samuel Beckett Died on 22 December 1989 + His Fascination with Chess and Endgame

    Monday, December 21st, 2015
  • Samuel Becket at 73 1AvedonBeckett
    by Richard Avedon

    Samuel Beckett Died on 22 December 1989.

  • Samuel Beckett Draws Doodles of Charlie Chaplin, James Joyce & Hats

    Samuel Beckett discusses forms with Harold Pinter.

    Beckett and Chess

    Poet John Montague, a close friend of his fellow Irishman in Paris in the 1950s and 60s, tells me that Beckett, who was ill at ease with people he didn’t know well, would sit in a cafe moving the objects on the table around, “playing a fantasy game of chess”, as Montague puts it. It is also tempting to see Beckett treating the stage like a chessboard.

    Endgame in particular is, as the title makes clear, infused with chess.

    As always with Beckett, there is no easy key to understanding. Chess is clearly a subtext of Endgame – his biographer Deirdre Bair says Beckett was clear on this point – but it is difficult to be reductive.

  • “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Samuel Beckett quote tatooed on Stan Wawrinka’s arm.

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    Interview in Vogue, December 1969: “Writing becomes not easier, but more difficult for me. Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness. Democritus pointed the way: ‘Naught is more than nothing.'”

    To Samuel Beckett archive here.

    White Nights, La Notte & Many Nights of Marcello Mastroianni

    Saturday, December 19th, 2015
  • White Nights

    He was discovered by director Luchino Visconti. In 1957 Visconti gave him the starring part in his Fyodor Dostoevsky adaptation Le Notti Bianche (1957)

    He died of pancreatic cancer on December 19, 1996.’

    Federico Fellini nicknamed him “Snaporaz” while they are working on La Dolce Vita (1960); 20 years later this was the name of the character he played in City of Women (1980).

    From 1971 to 1975 he had an intense relationship with french actress Catherine Deneuve. She was at his bedside when he died, along with their daughter, Chiara Mastroianni.(via)

    Mastroianni was directed by Visconti only twice..both literary adaptations one by Dostovesky and another by Camus L’Etranger with Anna Karina.

  • Four Nights a Dreamer by Robert Bresson is also based on White Nights.

    Two Lovers is a 2008 American romantic drama film, taking its inspiration from Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s short story “White Nights”,[2] which had already been turned into a film 7 times, first by Luchino Visconti: Le Notti Bianche (1957)

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    Bardot, Marcello and Louis Malle while filming La Vie Privee (the private life).
    BB and MM shared a birthday both born on Sept 28.

    During WW2 he was sent to a German prison camp, but he managed to escape and hide in Venice. (via)

  • Chiara Mastroianni: I only saw my parents together on screen

    Her favourite film her mother has been in is Roman Polanski’s London-set Repulsion and of her father’s films she likes Divorce Italian Style and What Time Is It?

    But since my father died [in 1996], I’m beginning to see what a lucky thing it is to have him around still. He was one of those actors who was actually quite like his on-screen characters.

    “But what really sticks is the voice. You can hear it in another room and it’s like he’s still there. That’s what gets me after all this time – an echo.”

  • On his role in La notte (1961): I was a little bit disappointed because I felt that the character, this writer suffering a crisis, was a little bit conventional. Perhaps I would have preferred him to be more angry, more cynical, but then I probably wouldn’t have been able to play him anyway. I suppose I felt that I had an example of a writer before me: my friend, Ennio Flaiano. And somehow or other, I don’t know why, I felt that this writer should be like him, which obviously wasn’t what Antonioni intended. So there was a sort of incomprehension between me and the director. As I went along I lost of that joy, that enthusiasm I had felt which had made me want to do the film. This was the state of mind I was while I was making the film. I would liked to be closer to Antonioni but it wasn’t possible. I don’t know if it was my fault or whether it was because he (and it is something he has always said) prefers not to have much interaction with the actors. (via)

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    New & Old Harmony – Deborah Kass, Michael Krebber, David Dao and Paul Klee

    Friday, December 18th, 2015
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    No Kidding – Deborah Kass (Kasmin Gallery)

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    Paul Klee 1936

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    Michael Krebber

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    David Dao

  • The Architect of Eiffel Tower, Gustave Eiffel was born in Dijon – Artists Celebrate his birthday

    Tuesday, December 15th, 2015
  • Tseng Kwong Chi 1mTsengKwo

  • Gustave Eiffel (15 December 1832 – 27 December 1923)

  • Francois Truffaut created a title sequence that shows the skyline of Paris.. the moving camera gliding around the image of Eiffle Tower..

  • Lebanon/France 1mlebfranceØivind Klungseth Zahlsen

    See his Alain Delon eclipsed by Hiroshima mon amour.

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    Martin Wong photoshopped by Fung Lin Hall

    A guy took a woeful photo of with the Eiffel Tower and the internet photoshopped it brilliantly.

    Martin Wong 1martinrevolt

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    Zazie dans le Metro


    Envionmentalists hold banner protest demonstration near Eiffel Tower ..

    The Statue of Liberty was also built by Gustave Eiffel

    See Angelina Jolie’s leg sticking out of the Statue Liberty.

    Yasujiro Ozu and Setsuko Hara

    Saturday, December 12th, 2015
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    The End of Summer

    “It’s very easy to show emotions in drama: the actors cry or laugh and this conveys sad or happy feelings to the audience. But this is mere explanation. Can we really portray a man’s personality and dignity by appealing to emotions? I want to make people feel what life is like without delineating dramatic ups and downs.” –Yasujirō Ozu

  • See teapots from his films

    See Ozu paraphenelia from Brutus.. (his gourmet notebook is charming.. with maps to the restaurants)

  • Aki Kaurismaki and Hou Hsiao-Hsien on Ozu –
    Hou on on Ozu (youtube)

    Aki on Ozu (youtube)

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    Setsuko Hara – wiki (June 17, 1920 – September 5, 2015)

    Ozu was born on Dec 12, 1903.. he passed away on his birthday Dec 12 1963.

  • Donald Richie on Hara Setsuko

    We were deeply saddened to learn today of the passing of the great Setsuko Hara, star and soul of so many of the masterpiece creations of Yasujiro Ozu—among her many other memorable roles during the golden age of Japanese cinema. To pay tribute, we present again a beautiful piece on the legendary Ozu-Hara collaboration, by another great—Donald Richie

    In retrospect, the reason for her decision seems evident. Our Noriko, for so many years troubled by the demands of society on one hand and the needs of the self on the other, finally decided. She would do what she wanted. And she did. All attempts to lure her out over the years have been rebuffed. When a documentary was made on Ozu, she refused to appear, just as, when he died, she did not attend his funeral. Setsuko Hara was her own person at last.

  • Obit (guardian)

    New York times.

    “Like Garbo, Hara came to represent an ideal of womanliness, nobility and generosity,” David Thomson wrote in The New Biographical Dictionary of Film. And like Garbo, she held her public at a distance.

    “Every Japanese actor can play the role of a soldier, and every Japanese actress can play the role of a prostitute to some extent,” Ozu said of her. “However, it is rare to find an actress who can play the role of a daughter from a good family.”

    Ms. Hara, who never married and leaves no immediate family members, made more than 100 films. She worked with the director Mikio Naruse on several movies and with Ozu on “Early Summer” (1951), “Tokyo Twilight” (1957) and “Late Autumn” (1960).

    She teamed up with Mr. Kurosawa for a second time in 1951 in “The Idiot,” based on the Dostoyevsky novel. She was cast as the love interest of the title character and of a roguish aristocrat played by Toshiro Mifune. The film was not well received. Her last film before her retirement was Hiroshi Inagaki’s “Chushingura,” a retelling of the classic tale of the 47 ronin, a band of 18th-century samurai bent on avenging their slain leader. When she went into seclusion, Japanese filmgoers mourned. To them, Ms. Hara was more than an actress; she was, in some way, the soul of Japan itself. The novelist Shusaku Endo once wrote, of seeing a Hara film, “We would sigh or let out a great breath from the depths of our hearts, for what we felt was precisely this: Can it be possible that there is such a woman in this world?”

    Flamboyant & Wild – Akiyuki Nosaka, an Award Winning Novelist Dies

    Friday, December 11th, 2015
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    Akiyuki Nosaka dies at 85.

    After surviving the U.S. air raids on Kobe toward the end of World War II, Nosaka dealt with the war in many of his works.

    (He was against war.)

  • Punching Nagisa Oshima at the award ceremony..
    Nagisa Oshima (previous post)

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    Shohei Imamura (previous post)

    The Pornographers – Akiyuki Nosaka

    There is a peculiar balancing act at work in any book where the main characters are essentially criminals. Nosaka gets away with it all by making Subuyan a figure of comedy who never completely twigs to how pathetic he really is.
    Nosaka is another example of a criminally undertranslated Japanese author. His best-known work in the West is not even his, per se, but the Studio Ghibli animated adaptation of his story Grave of the Fireflies.

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    Grave of the Fireflies

  • Being Malkovich & Being Others (His Homage to Photographic Masters)

    Wednesday, December 9th, 2015
  • J.Malkovich 1aMalkovich
    Happy birthday John Malkovich!
    Malkovich ate nothing but Jello to lose weight when he was a child. The Dancer Upstairs was the only film he directed.. (Javier Bardem.. with Nina Simone soundtrack).. He was terrific in Dangerous Liasions and in Disgrace (adapted from Coetzee Nobel prize winning author). He worked with Portuguese director Oliveira in 3 films?? He loves to live in Lisbon he said .. Sheltering Sky (Bertoulucci).. took him to Europe.. he learned French & lived there. He played Klimt directed by Raul Ruiz. … he was also in Time Regained. Saw him first in Empire of the Sun..Choosing Mr. Right.. Being John Malkovich.. I also liked him in a film The Great Buck Howard, The Rounders.

    See Portrait Remakes – Malkovich Homage to Photographic Masters by Sandro Miller

    Finding a woman in his garden, funny story from John Malkovich (youtube)

  • Disgrace trailer (youtube)

    Making Mr. Right (youtube)

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    Manoel de Oliveira, Catherine Deneuve and John Malkovich

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    Maritza and Maria
    Maritza came to this reader’s attention as a possible doppleganger of Maria Schneider.

    The Dancer Upstairs trailer (directed by J. Malkovich) was modeled after Maritza who is currently serving her term in prison.

  • Being John Cassavates – John C and John M shared a birthday

    Peter Falk and Gena on John Cassavates – (Youtube.. wonderful video)